PHOENIX SUNS

NBA 2023 GM survey: Suns not top title favorites, Devin Booker leads SG vote

Oct 10, 2023, 11:45 AM

Devin Booker and Kevin Durant...

Devin Booker #1 and Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns react during the second half of Game Two of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at Footprint Center on April 18, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Clippers 123-109. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

It’s not surprising the Phoenix Suns popped up often in NBA.com’s annual general manager survey leading into the 2023-24 season.

Expectations are high and so is the talent.

But there is skepticism across the league, more so than people might suspect considering the talent assembled.

So where do GMs predict the Suns as NBA title favorites?

The Suns ranked fourth with 7% of the vote when executives were asked which team would win the NBA Finals. The Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets earned 33% of the vote each, while the Milwaukee Bucks garnered 23% after pairing Damian Lillard with Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Speaking of additions, new Suns shooting guard Bradley Beal received 10% of the vote, third-most, as the player acquisition who will make the biggest impact. That was behind Lillard of the Bucks and Jrue Holiday, who was sent to Portland in the Lillard blockbuster and rerouted to the Celtics.

Another person involved in that initial Lillard trade, Suns center Jusuf Nurkic, did receive at least a vote in a question about making the biggest impact on a new team. He was tied for third, with 7% of the vote, as an “underrated player acquisition.”

As a whole, the Suns ranked highly for being hard to evaluate.

Phoenix tied for fourth (10%) when GMs were asked which squad’s level of success is toughest to predict. That’s despite having two very trustworthy players.

Kevin Durant earned at least one MVP vote prediction while receiving the second-most votes as the NBA’s best small forward (20%, behind Boston’s Jayson Tatum). Durant also got the second-most votes at power forward (3%, behind Antetokounmpo).

Devin Booker was a runaway winner as the best shooting guard, garnering 63% of the vote. That was up from 45% as the top dog heading into last season. He was up against a weak field that included semi-point guard Stephen Curry and semi-point forward Luka Doncic.

And as for the Suns’ new coach, Frank Vogel still brings a reputation as a solid defensive coach. Vogel earned 7% of the votes, tied for fourth, when general managers were asked who has the best defensive schemes.

Vogel also was third with 13% of the vote for the new coach who will have the greatest impact on his team, behind Houston’s Ime Udoka and former Suns coach and first-year Pistons leader Monty Williams.

Suns assistant coach Kevin Young was tied for second (10%) when GMs were asked to name the best assistant coach in the league.

Young could continue to impress as the offensive coordinator of sorts. Though the Suns have three elite perimeter players, Phoenix ranked tied for fifth (7%) when executives had to choose the most efficient offense this season.

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